THE Prime Minister has condemned the "hideous influence" of the British National Party and said there could be no excuse for the racial violence in Burnley.

Quizzed about recent rioting in East Lancashire he told MPs: "There can be no excuse whatever for attacks on the police, or indeed acts of racist violence.

"I agree entirely about the hideous influence of organisations such as the BNP which do nothing but try and stir up racial hatred in our communities."

Even in the most difficult circumstances, the vast majority of people were law-abiding and wanted to live "alongside each other in peace and harmony".

"What we've got to do is make sure that view of the vast majority ... is the view that prevails, not a few views of those who are engaged in trying to stir up racial violence in a way that is totally unacceptable in this day and age," he said during Prime Minister's questions in the Commons.

Mr Blair also paid tribute to the way Burnley MP Peter Pike had handled the very difficult situation in a "very responsible and serious way".

As well as asking him to condemn the violence, Mr Pike had asked him to accept that issues such as housing and lack of finance needed tackling urgently "for the whole of the community".